At the beginning of 2019, I sat down to think about annual themes for my family. I wanted to have a lens through which we’d filter our daily life, especially our activities. Taking care of three kids and managing the household puts a lot on my plate. As my kids have grown, I haven’t done a good job involving them in the chores that maintaining a household requires. It’s time for that to change.
One of the themes, which I’m only now employing, is “Everybody Helps.” We can’t all do the same thing, but we can all do something.
My father-in-law came for a visit last week. In the lead up to his arrival, I had workers in the house rehabbing my shower. We also had just arrived home from our Thanksgiving travels. The house was a complete mess and I had less than four hours to get everything back in order.
Benedict and Felicity were excited for their grandfather’s arrival, and they were in the mood to help. While I was working, they each came up and asked if I had a job for them. I couldn’t ask them to clean the bathroom, but I could ask them to empty the trash. I could also ask them to put things away, or move things between rooms.
They excitedly ran off, did their job, and came back, asking for their next job. I broke down my bigger jobs into singular tasks and assigned them out. As soon as we finished, our guest of honor arrived.
Certainly my kids were excited to help get our house ready, but there was a deeper lesson in there for both of us. I learned that they’re perfectly capable of helping me with my chores and they learned the value of work. They felt useful, productive, and a part of their family. They deserve to have that feeling more often.